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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-01-08

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada <>

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 1384), January 8, 1998

Greek Press & Information Office
Ottawa, Canada
E-Mail Address:


  • [01] Athens: Turkish violations render previous agreements useless
  • [02] ... Tsohatzopoulos
  • [03] ... Greece flatly rejects latest Turkish claims over Aegean islets
  • [04] Turkey wants direct 'committee of experts' talks, sans EU
  • [05] Simitis-Skandalidis meeting today
  • [06] Simitis underlines role of private enterprise in economic progress
  • [07] Tax bill tabled in Parliament, harsh opposition reaction
  • [08] Award to Samarakis
  • [09] Focus turns to life and works of Feraios, Solomos
  • [10] PASOK to launch campaign for social policy
  • [11] Euro-socialist conference on Mideast issues
  • [12] Georgian defense minister in Athens today
  • [13] Greece looking after Knossos - Venizelos
  • [14] PASOK Euro-MPs propose resolution on Chiapas massacre
  • [15] Greece ready to help EU on Kurdish immigration problem
  • [16] Armed Corfu residents foil raid by Albanian gangs
  • [17] Syrian embassy cars torched
  • [18] Commission starts infringement proceedings on directives
  • [19] Wulf-Mathies: Certain CSF-funded projects in Greece in jeopardy
  • [20] Soumakis on tabled merchant shipping bill
  • [21] Greek aid to Djibouti
  • [22] Chrysolouris named OTE's new managing director
  • [23] Fines levied for illegal fishing
  • [24] Greek interbank market hit by turbulence
  • [25] Greek stocks resist pressure, end fractionally lower
  • [26] Xiosbank opens two new branches
  • [27] European Commission sends opinion to four countries on trade
  • [28] Greece boosts port authority fleet
  • [29] Greece to develop Aegean islands
  • [30] Intracom enters defense equipment market
  • [31] Police confiscate 11 kilos of heroin

  • [01] Athens: Turkish violations render previous agreements useless

    Athens, 08/01/1998 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Demetris Reppas said yesterday that recent Turkish violations of Greek airspace during military exercises in the eastern Aegean on Tuesday essentially made a communiqui agreed to in Madrid last July as well as a 1988 bilateral agreement useless.

    Mr. Reppas was speaking after a formation of eight Turkish warplanes violated Greek airspace over the island of Lesvos early Tuesday as Greece celebrated the religious holiday of Epiphany. The violations followed similar violations on Christmas Day.

    Meanwhile, in a statement to the ANA yesterday, a US embassy official said there was no question that the tiny Kalogeri islets, situated in an area which initially was to be included in the Turkish aeronautical exercise, were under Greek sovereignty.

    Greece and Turkey have signed an agreement not to carry out military exercises on religious or national holidays. Turkey is currently carrying out military exercises in the eastern Aegean, as well as a joint naval exercise with the US and Israel in the eastern Mediterranean.

    Calling Turkish policy "self-destructive", Mr. Reppas said Turkey's behavior only isolated it even further from Europe, as Ankara continually creates problems in the eastern Mediterranean region. Asked to comment on the joint Turkey-US-Israel exercise, the spokesman expressed the view that the "policy of axes" did not contribute to consolidating continued stability, peace and good neighborly relations.

    "As a country, we have no problem (with Turkey's participation in this exercise) as long as all procedures determined by international law are observed. However, we are against the creation of axes," he said.

    The government spokesman added that Athens was monitoring the joint maneuver and that it had accepted the explanation - announced by the US and Israel - that the military exercises were not specifically aimed against any country, nor against Greece.

    Mr. Reppas announced that the French Foreign Minister, Hubert Vedrine, who is to pay a visit to Athens, will be received by Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Friday.

    Cypriot Foreign Minister Yiannakis Kasoulidis will also be in Athens on Friday for contacts with the Greek foreign ministry's political leadership.

    [02] ... Tsohatzopoulos

    Athens, 08/01/1998 (ANA)

    Military prepared for violations : On his part, National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said Greece would follow standard procedures if Turkey violated Greece's airspace during today's phase of their military exercises.

    "Any Turkish aircraft that violates Greece's airspace will be intercepted immediately," said Mr. Tsohatzopoulos.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos was speaking after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday, which examined the latest developments in Greek-Turkish relations.

    The Greek defense minister added that "Turkey is in a difficult position. It has become the epicenter of criticism for all European countries because, finally, its inability to give an acceptable solution to the Kurdish issue is revealed, the result being this mass exodus and illegal immigration with all the dangers involved.

    "We in Greece have lived through these (circumstances) repeatedly. In any case, we want to hope that the pressure of international public opinion will produce results. At least, Turkey will realize that the illegal immigration issue is an issue that fully concerns it. And, of course, it is an issue which is not resolved by military means, it needs a political solution."

    He added that "now from this point forward, we want to hope that at some point the other side will realize that their is no meaning in continuing toward this direction. And thus, maturity will prevail, which will provide the possibility for a realization of specific rules and values that are necessary to avoid such tensions to prevail."

    [03] ... Greece flatly rejects latest Turkish claims over Aegean islets

    Athens, 08/01/1998 (ANA)

    Meanwhile, Athens yesterday fir-mly rejected the views expressed by Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Nezati Utkan regarding the status of several Aegean islets and Greece's national airspace.

    The Greek foreign ministry, in a laconic announcement by spokesman Costas Bikas, called Mr. Utkan's statements "the known Turkish views", which attempt to cast doubt on the status of the Aegean.

    Mr. Bikas added that the Turkish views are presented by Ankara in different ways, according to its interlocutors and are part of a tactic of friction and tension adopted by the neighboring country. These views, he added, have been substantiatedly and repeatedly rejected by Greece.

    Earlier, Mr. Utkan had stated that "one of the important problems between Turkey and Greece is the one concerning the issue of the small islands and islets, whose ownership has not been given to Greece through international agreements," according to an announcement by the Turkish foreign ministry.

    He added that "this issue, which has been continuing to exist for many years between the two countries" was the focus of international attention following the Imia crisis.

    In terms of Greek airspace, the Turkish official said that "the fact that Greece is continuing to implement a 10-mile national airspace is a clear violation of international law."

    He added that "the width of Greece's territorial waters has been determined and announced by a law on Oct. 8, 1936 as six nautical miles."

    [04] Turkey wants direct 'committee of experts' talks, sans EU

    Ankara, 08/01/1998 (ANA - A. Abatzis)

    In a related development, Turkey repeated its proposal for a continuation of dialogue between Turkish and Greek experts, however, by bypassing the European Union presidency.

    An informational note issued by the Turkish foreign ministry yesterday refers to this position by Ankara and describes the course of deliberations by the committee of experts between the two countries.

    The announcement stresses that "the Turkish side desires continuation of the committee of experts process directly with their Greek counterparts. In essence, this rapprochement is also in line with the Commission's directives.

    "It has been mentioned in these directives that the EU only has a facilitating role in the process of the experts committee. There is no obligation in that the process will definitely develop under the EU's auspices. In addition, the EU's contri-bution to date was nothing more than conveying the letters of the two sides," the Turkish foreign ministry stated.

    The note stresses that "the Turkish experts, with a letter they sent to their Greek counterparts on Dec. 25, in the framework of the decision announced by the Turkish government on Dec. 14, 1997, calling for political dialogue on the issue of Greek-Turkish affairs not to continue with the EU, requested from the Greek experts to send their letter of reply directly to them instead of the EU Presidency, or through the embassies of Turkey and Greece in Athens and Ankara."

    [05] Simitis-Skandalidis meeting today

    Athens, 08/01/1998 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Demetris Reppas yesterday announced that Prime Minister and PASOK president Costas Simitis will meet today with PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis.

    Mr. Simitis has also called a meeting on Friday of the government's economic council, headed by National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, in order to discuss and examine the course of the Greek economy, Mr. Reppas said.

    [06] Simitis underlines role of private enterprise in economic progress

    Athens, 08/01/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis defended his government's economic policy in a statement on arrival at the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry's (EBEA) annual reception yesterday.

    Mr. Simitis said the Greek economy has made considerable steps of progress lately, which is also proved by the fact that inflation has dropped to the lowest levels in past decades, deficits have been decreased considerably and growth rates are among the highest in Europe.

    He said this policy must be continued and will be continued because the target of equal participation in economic and monetary union will be achieved in this way.

    Mr. Simitis also referred to the businessmen's' contribution to this effort through the development of new technology, carrying out new investments and better organizing the production process.

    On the part of the main opposition New Democracy party, party leader Costas Karamanlis strongly criticized the prime minister, whom he termed "the premier of taxes who lacks the boldness to proceed with necessary structural incisions indicated to him by ND."

    Mr. Karamanlis said the taxation bill tabled in Parliament is tangible proof of decline imposed on public life by the government. He also accused the government of lying systematically since while committing itself not to impose new taxes it established 13 taxes with the new budget and 25 with the taxation bill. He further said that with this taxation bill every effort for development and carrying out investments is abolished, while unemployment is also given an impetus.

    Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos said economic policy must secure structural interventions in the economy's operation, place emphasis on investments, production restructuring and secure healthy rules of competition. He also spoke of the wasting of public money and untransparent management, while calling for new institutions of transparency and control.

    Development Minister Vasso Papandreou said the taxation bill is just and called on social partners to support the government's economic policy for the materialization of common targets.

    [07] Tax bill tabled in Parliament, harsh opposition reaction

    Athens, 08/01/1998 (ANA)

    A taxation bill was tabled in Parliament last night, which is expected to be discussed at the relevant Parliamentary committee next week and where the date of a debate at a Parliamentary plenary session will be set. The bill anticipates significant changes concerning incomes, the way of taxing them and exemptions.

    Referring to the bill, main opposition New Democracy Parliamentary spokesman Demetris Sioufas said "the new and increased taxes are not ultimately 13, but 35", adding that the government has lost all control and is attacking citizens in every way.

    "The country now needs the economic policy of New Democracy which is summed up in fewer taxes, drastically fewer state expenditures and extensive structural changes everywhere," he said.

    Commenting on the same issue, an announcement by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) spoke of "a policy of savage tax raiding against the small- and medium-size strata" which, combined with the incomes policy, "crushes the living standards of the large majority of the people."

    KKE stated that it considers as being indicative of anti-popular measures an increase to 20 per cent in withholding tax on the revenues of self-employed professionals, a 5 per cent increase in withholding tax on the pensions of various funds and the increase in the tax on retail merchants.

    In its own announcement, the Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) spoke of "blatant injustices" in the tax system and of "the lack of effectiveness of the relevant mechanism."

    [08] Award to Samarakis

    Athens, 08/01/1998 (ANA)

    Athens Mayor Demetris Avramopoulos will award noted writer Antonis Samarakis with the municipality's Gold Merit Medal for his contribution to Greek letters, his social and political struggles and his unwavering focus on humanistic values.

    [09] Focus turns to life and works of Feraios, Solomos

    Athens, 08/01/1998 (ANA)

    The culture ministry is planning to emphasize the life and works of pre-revolutionary figures Rigas Feraios and Dionysios Solomos to expatriate Greeks, as 1998 marks the bicentennial anniversary of the former's death and the latter's birth.

    The historical message of Feraios and Solomos led to the emancipation of all Balkan peoples over the last two centuries, according to the ministry.

    Two international conferences on the influence of Feraios on Balkan liberation movements from Ottoman rule will be organized next fall, one in Paris and the other in Naples, with presentations by Greek and foreign scholars.

    [10] PASOK to launch campaign for social policy

    Athens, 08/01/1998 (ANA)

    The ruling PASOK party is preparing to embark on a campaign to present its "social awareness policy", which will involve both domestic and European initiatives.

    PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis announced yesterday that in the context of the party's initiative for a social Europe, he has already addressed letters to several European socialist parties and governments.

    According to PASOK's proposal, the initiative will reach a peak with a meeting of all socialist parties in Athens, in June or July 1998, which will be aimed at issuing a "joint text containing principles, actions and initiatives that will signal a coordinated activity by European socialists and the European Socialist Party on issues relating to employment and social policy".

    In order to prepare for the Athens meeting, a PASOK delegation will travel in Europe between Feb. 1 and March 31 for meetings with all invited socialist parties.

    In the domestic front now, according to Mr. Skandalidis, PASOK will make efforts to "embrace" the citizens.

    Nevertheless, Mr. Skandalidis stressed the need for PASOK to broaden its social awareness driven not by necessity to ease off reactions sparked by its economic policy, but because as a socialist party it should always be sensitive on such issues.

    [11] Euro-socialist conference on Mideast issues

    Athens, 08/01/1998 (ANA)

    PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis yesterday announced that the ruling party will initiate an all-European socialist party conference which will examine Middle East issues and develop a common stance at the European Union level.

    Mr. Skandalidis said that in the framework of this initiative, PASOK is in a position to organize a conference on Rhodes.

    He also said that all socialist parties of Europe and the Europarliament socialist group will meet during this conference to discuss Middle East issues.

    [12] Georgian defense minister in Athens today

    Athens, 08/01/1998 (ANA)

    Georgian Defense Minister, Lt.-Gen. V. Nadibaidze, arrives in Athens today for an official three-day visit at the invitation of his Greek counterpart Akis Tsohatzopoulos.

    Apart from talks with the Greek defense minister, the Georgian minister will visit the state-run PYRKAL ammunition plant and the Skaramangas Shipyards.

    He is also scheduled to meet Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and will be received by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    [13] Greece looking after Knossos - Venizelos

    Athens, 08/01/1998 (ANA)

    Reports in the British newspaper The Guardian of damage to the palace of Knossos drew a response yesterday from Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos that measures planned to improve security on the site would soon be completed.

    "We are aware of the British Archaeological Society's sensitivity (to the issue) but we ourselves, as well as our experts, are just as, if not more sensitive," he said.

    According to the Guardian, the home of the legendary Minotaur was in danger of collapsing.

    Mr. Venizelos said the main problem was the large number of visitors to the site. Work to create special walkways for visitors was almost completed, he added.

    "While Knossos is an international cultural heritage monument, it is on Greek territory. Responsibility for the site rests with Greece," Mr. Venizelos stressed.

    [14] PASOK Euro-MPs propose resolution on Chiapas massacre

    Brussels, 08/01/1998 (ANA)

    PASOK's Euro-deputies introduced a resolution to the Europarliament's plenum condemning the murder of 45 Indians in Mexico's Chiapas region by para-military forces.

    The proposed resolution, which will be discussed next week, calls for the Mexican government to take drastic measures against such terrorist actions and to work for peace in the region.

    The proposed resolution also demands that the European Commission halt all financial assistance to Mexico until peace is restored in the Chiapas state.

    [15] Greece ready to help EU on Kurdish immigration problem

    Athens, 08/01/1998 (ANA)

    Greece said yesterday it was determined to work with its European Union partners to find a way to deal with the problem of illegal immigration from Turkey, as Greek police representatives met in Rome with EU experts.

    "This is a major humanitarian problem," government spokesman Demetris Reppas said. "The Greek government believes that the European Union must have a uniform and specific policy to deal with the problem."

    "Greece is prepared to participate in any procedure which will assist in dealing with the problem."

    Mr. Reppas said Turkey was obliged to resolve its domestic Kurdish problem "by economic and political means".

    "Athens has for some time now stressed the problem to its partners," he said, adding that the phenomenon of illegal immigration was one that hurt, primarily, Greece.

    Authorities yesterday began moving 250 Kurdish refugees from refugee accommodation in the port city of Patras to Corinth, on the order of Public Order Minister George Romeos.

    The 250 Kurds, who had been placed in a disused Greek railways machine shop, had been opposed to the move, and had threatened to go on hunger strike.

    They agreed to be moved after a series of talks and meeting between their representatives and Greek authorities who assured them that the new accommodation was more satisfactory.

    [16] Armed Corfu residents foil raid by Albanian gangs

    Athens, 08/01/1998 (ANA)

    Several armed Albanian criminals in two speedboats who landed in Corfu's seaside resort of Paleokastritsa yesterday morning were greeted by armed local residents firing warning shots over their heads, according to reports.

    The suspects, who were attempting to sack several seaside shops, fled to their boats and made off towards Albanian territorial waters, returning the fire.

    Three coast guard patrol boats gave chase but were unable to catch the suspects

    No one was injured in the exchange of fire.

    [17] Syrian embassy cars torched

    Athens, 08/01/1998 (ANA)

    Unidentified persons set fire at dawn yesterday to two cars belonging to the Syrian Embassy, causing damage but no injuries, police said.

    One of the cars, which was parked on the corner of Kifissias and Panormou streets in central Athens, was totally destroyed and the other was slightly damaged.

    Police said the arson attacks were caused by a fire bomb, adding that a canister with remains of gasoline was found near the destroyed car.

    Eyewitnesses told police that they saw "two young men near the cars who sped off on a large motorcycle after the fire".

    [18] Commission starts infringement proceedings on directives

    Athens, 08/01/1998 (ANA)

    The European Commission has decided to institute infringement proceedings against Greece and Spain for failing to notify it of measures to transpose into national law certain directives relating to public procurement, according to European Commission press release yesterday.

    As regards Greece, the Commission has decided to issue a reasoned opinion (the second stage of infringement proceedings under Article 171 of the EC Treaty) for failure to comply with the judgment of 2 May 1996 by the Court of Justice on the non-transposition into national law of Directive 92/50/EEC on the procedures for the award of public service contracts.

    Under Article 171 of the EC Treaty, the Commission calls on Greece to take all the necessary measures to comply with the reasoned opinion and to forward to it the texts adopted with a view to incorporating the Directive on public service contracts into national law. The Directive should have been transposed by 1 July 1993 at the latest.

    If Greece does not respond in a satisfactory manner within two months of receiving the reasoned opinion, the Commission may decide to bring the matter before the Court of Justice for the second time, with the request that the Court impose financial penalties commensurate with the seriousness and duration of the infringement.

    [19] Wulf-Mathies: Certain CSF-funded projects in Greece in jeopardy

    Brussels, 08/01/1998 (ANA - G. Daratos)

    The European Union Commission conceded that a danger exists of certain second Community Support Framework (CSF)-funded projects in Greece not being completed, and that the rate of EU fund absorption at the end of 1997, namely , after four years of CSF, was only 42 per cent.

    EU Commissioner Monika Wulf-Mathies, responsible for regional policy, structural funds and cohesion fund, provided several figures in reply to a question by New Democracy Eurodeputies A. Trakatellis, C. Hatzidakis and G. Dimitrakopoulos:

    Ms Wulf-Mathies said he average percentage of Community Support Framework implementation at the end of 1997, compared to the period of the 1994-1999 program, was 42 per cent.

    She also noted that the Commission believes that every effort must be undertaken with the purpose of achieving the main targets set in the present CSF and, in particular, achieving the ambitious targets of such major projects as the Egnatia motorway, the natural gas pipe line and a land registry.

    Finally, she said certain projects might not be completed during the present CSF. However, the Commission insists that all efforts must be made for these projects to proceed as much as possible by the end of the CSF's five-year period.

    [20] Soumakis on tabled merchant shipping bill

    Athens, 08/01/1998 (ANA)

    Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis yesterday called on Greek shipowners to retain a minimum of Greek merchant seamen on their vessels and to invest in domestic shipping lines.

    He also called on the seamen's federation to "not close their eyes" to international competition, during the first day of debate in Parliament on a tabled bill regarding merchant shipping.

    [21] Greek aid to Djibouti

    Djibouti, 08/01/1998 (AFP)

    The Greek government has agreed to give Djibouti 3,000 tons of wheat in aid, worth US$1.3 million, Radio Djibouti announced yesterday.

    The agreement was signed by the two countries' ambassadors in Addis Ababa, the announcement said.

    [22] Chrysolouris named OTE's new managing director

    Athens, 08/01/1998 (ANA)

    The top managing director position at the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) has been assigned to Georgios Chrysolouris, an electrical engineer with an impressive academic and business background.

    Mr. Chrisolouris graduated from the Athens Polytechnic and acquired a Ph.D from Hanover University in Germany, while he has also served as a professor and researcher at the famed Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from 1980 to 1993.

    Mr. Chrisolouris has worked for several US and European firms active in the infomatics and technology fields.

    OTE's new managing director has been a member of the telecoms' board since 1996 and has headed a team which presented OTE to international investors during share floatations.

    [23] Fines levied for illegal fishing

    Athens, 08/01/1998 (ANA)

    Harbor authorities levied fines of more than 221 million drachmas for 1,008 violations, mainly involving illegal fishing violations from Jan. 1, 1997 to Nov. 30 1997.

    Of those, 323 violations concerned professional fishermen, 658 amateur fishermen and 27 violations were for illegal possession of explosives and toxic substances.

    [24] Greek interbank market hit by turbulence

    Athens, 08/01/1998 (ANA)

    Greece's interbank market remained unstable yesterday under the influence of persistent turmoil in east Asian markets to suffer new foreign exchange outflows.

    The Bank of Greece, the country's central bank, reported outflows totaling 550 million ECUs at yesterday's drachma's fixing, following outflows of 200 million ECUs on Monday.

    Banking sources said the interbank market was also depressed by news of a worsening current accounts deficit in the first nine months of 1997, showing a shortfall of 4.1 billion US dollars from a 3.5 billion gap in the corresponding period in 1996.

    The drachma was weaker against the ECU at 312.98 drachmas, while the Greek currency lost substantial ground against the US dollar due to a sharp appreciation of the greenback in international markets.

    Domestic interest rates moved higher with the overnight rate increasing to 10-11 percent.

    [25] Greek stocks resist pressure, end fractionally lower

    Athens, 08/01/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities came under pressure yesterday on worries of a worsening current accounts deficit and an unstable domestic interbank market to end lower on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The general index ended 0.10 percent down at 1,523.47 points, sharply off the day's lows.

    Sector indices lost ground with the exception of Industrials and Miscellaneous which rose by 1.34 and 1.38 percent respectively on speculative demand.

    Banks fell 1.01 percent, Insurance eased 0.46 percent, Leasing dropped 1.48 percent, Investment fell 0.21 percent, Constructions ended 1.72 percent off and Holding dropped 0.71 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 0.22 percent down, while the FTSE/ASE index fell 0.40 percent to end at 864.31 points.

    Trading was moderate with turnover at 14.8 billion drachmas.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 116 to 89 with another 24 issues unchanged.

    Levenderis, Desmos, Pairis, Flexopack and Babyland scored the biggest percentage gains at the day's upper limit of 8.0 percent, while Fintexport, Etma, Balkan Export, Vernikos Yachts and Ellatex suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 24,900 drachmas, Ergobank at 15,000, Alpha Credit Bank at 16,495, Delta Dairy at 3,250, Titan Cement at 13,350, Intracom at 14,250 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organization at 6,000.

    [26] Xiosbank opens two new branches

    Athens, 08/01/1998 (ANA)

    Xiosbank, a listed Greek private bank, yesterday inaugurated two new branches, one in Athens and another in Chania, Crete.

    The bank operates 34 branch units in the country of which 28 are branch offices and six automated transaction machines.

    [27] European Commission sends opinion to four countries on trade

    Athens, 08/01/1998 (ANA)

    Following complaints, the Commission has decided to send reasoned opinions to France, Belgium, Italy and Greece concerning barriers to the free movement of goods that are in breach of Article 30 of the EC Treaty.

    The barriers in question concern processing aids used in the production of certain foodstuffs (France), ultra-light engine-driven aircraft (Belgium), weighing devices (Italy) and pesticides (Greece).

    In the absence of a satisfactory response on the part of the member state in question within a period of not more than two months following receipt of the reasoned opinion, the Commission may bring the case to the European Court of Justice.

    The Commission has decided to issue a reasoned opinion in respect of the Greek rules on the marketing of pesticides because they have the effect of restricting imports from other member states.

    The authorization procedure imposes high charges for licensing the marketing of such products, and this places a de facto limit on the number of licence-holders.

    What is more, the considerable costs involved in launching new products make it difficult to introduce new products onto the market.

    Lastly, the Commission emphasizes that, since loans are made available only to agricultural cooperatives that agree to purchase fertilizer from the Greek Union of Cooperatives rather than on the open market.

    [28] Greece boosts port authority fleet

    Athens, 08/01/1998 (ANA)

    Greece is awaiting delivery of 47 new ships in the first quarter of this year as part of a plan to modernize the port authority nationwide, Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis said yesterday.

    New staff will be hired for the vessels, which include 10 lifeboats, two ships equipped to combat oil slicks and patrol boats, Mr. Soumakis told a news conference.

    The ministry had requested approval from the government to recruit 500 port police and 30 officers to staff the new vessels and increase port personnel, he said.

    Mr. Soumakis is waiting to receive a proposal from the port authority for a total restructuring in order to better meet international regulations and market conditions.

    The ministry spent 39.557 billion drachmas in 1997 on modernizing the port authority, and received 486 million drachmas in payments on contracts from previous years.

    Mr. Soumakis said an exodus from the Greek shipping registry was due to changes in international marine transport, and not to a shift in the composition of crews.

    "We will not allow the Greek flag to become a flag of convenience," he said.

    [29] Greece to develop Aegean islands

    Athens, 08/01/1998 (ANA)

    Greece plans to step up development in the Aegean islands this year in order to help offset adverse economic repercussions expected from European Union policies, Aegean Minister Elizabeth Papazoi said yesterday.

    In order to better monitor EU polices, the ministry will set up a body comprising ministers, experts and administrators in January, Ms Papazoi said.

    In addition, development planning will be undertaken island by island on the basis of EU structural funds for 2000-2006.

    The ministry, which is planning an administrative restructuring, also wants to implement the following measures to curb natural disasters in the Aegean islands:

    Firefighting equipment and infrastructure

    Earthquake action plans for Kos, Nisyros, Chios and the formulation of similar plans for other islands

    Also on the ministry's agenda for 1998 are water management schemes especially for arid islands, research into environmental hazards, participation in Euroisles, an international island network, and backing for a program linking Thrace, the Aegean and Cyprus.

    [30] Intracom enters defense equipment market

    Athens, 08/01/1998 (ANA)

    The Intracom telecoms firm has announced that it will enter the domestic defense equipment market.

    Specifically, a contract estimated at 14 billion drachmas is expected to be announced and signed in the next few weeks between the Hellenic armed forces and Intracom, relating to the construction of 4,000 wireless sets.

    Meanwhile, Intracom is expected to announce an increase in its share capital, a major portion of which has already been covered by foreign investors.

    Finally, the company's gross revenue in the first nine months of 1997 rose by 20 per cent compared with the corresponding period last year, reaching 35.3 billion drachmas.

    [31] Police confiscate 11 kilos of heroin

    Athens, 08/01/1998 (ANA)

    Police said yesterday that they had broken up a five-member drug ring operating out of Albania and confiscated 11 kilos of heroin.

    Among those arrested are one woman and an Albanian actor, Victor Zousi. Police are also seeking the alleged head of the ring, known only as "Tani".

    Experts said the heroin originated from Turkey and say that the drug trade from the neighboring country was using Albania as a transit stop en route to Greece and other European countries.

    In a related development, police said yesterday they had found 21 kilos of hashish in the rural region of Tagaradon in Thessaloniki.

    They found one kilo and 350 grams of hashish in a jacket abandoned at a shack. A further search uncovered another 20 kilos and 50 grams of the drug in 18 packets stashed in a metal barrel buried in the ground.

    Police believe the hashish had been smuggled into Greece by Albanians from the neighboring country and was destined for sale on the streets.

    Meanwhile, a 30-year-old livestock breeder from Thessaloniki was arrested for drugs possession at the northern Greek capital's Macedonia Airport.

    Emmanuel Adamopoulos was arrested with 4.5 grams of cocaine and half a gram of hashish in his possession on arrival from Amsterdam.

    End of English language section.

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